Friday, April 30, 2010

Can You Name That Theme Song? - FTWCP

This is a Happy Khorne Dreadnought...

Why is this KD so happy? Why does he have his hands thrown in the air in praise to the Dark Gods?
Because He gets to come out of the Gaming Case to kick off this post about choosing a theme for your army. This dreadnought, that I put together and converted when the plastic dreads were first released, shows a few important things about theme.

1) You can easily use random bits, green stuff and some plastic-card to convert a vehicle to match up with the theme of your army. Once you do this you can then quickly paint it to match the paint scheme.

2) You don't have to neglect the base, even if it is pre-molded.

In this instance I have added a slightly modified Skeleton to complete the skull that was on the base to begin with. I also added some grass made from old paint brush hairs to break up the whole thing with some spot colors.

Below I will give examples of both of these methods and various combinations of the two. Including the extension of these methods to objectives and Game Specific miniatures.

This Red Corsairs Rhino shows another way to enhance the theme of your army. While not extensive the conversions make this miniature unique. While I have scratch built this particular bit of Red Corsairs Iconography from plastic-card there are many upgrade kits out there to add similar bits to you miniatures to make them yours. While I could have painted this on (indeed I painted a larger one on the top hatch), I thought it would stand out more if I did it this way.

Moulded details, brass etch bits and themed conversions can be easily used to quickly make an army yours. I many cases these details can also make the miniatures both easier to paint, and you can add extra painted detail to the raised parts without fear of messing up the other details.

This is SGT Cromarte, named for the eponymous school teacher terminator from the TV Series. He started as an off hand remark and was made reality with a head swap and some icon filing. He was painted to to match the scheme for the rest of my scouts. Here the theme of the character is derived from the fluff behind the rules. He represents a hard-bitten veteran who has seen some serious action (represented by his bionics and old school rank insignia), that has been tasked with training the new recruits. A simple slate base with some muted greys and a gaunt skill add to the look by making it look like his camo cloak really would help conceal him.

Here is Cromarte with a few of his WIP pals. If you look at the middle mini you will notice a chunk of Cities of Death building. Small off-cuts and other bits that you would otherwise not use can be quickly used to add character to your bases. In this case I am steadily re-doing my whole marine army (except my Deathwatch Kill Team), in bases that suit my city terrain. As the scouts are newer additions to my marines they get the whole treatment from the start, the rest will get soaked in water until the white glue is soft enough to remove the old flock. They will also get updated highlights and some paint re-touches.

Doing it this way can revive your interest in an army you may have otherwise abandoned for various reasons. In my particular case my marines were never really themed other than "Vanilla" Marines that I use to learn the new rules with each Edition. This way it will encourage me to game more often with them, and I can revisit some of my favourite miniatures without buying a whole new army. On top of that it encourages me to get the crew over more often to game with my terrain, rather then meeting at our not-so-local-friendly-gaming-store.

The scout on the right is the result of my need for just one more scout to finish the army. In this instance I had a couple of choices. I could have sculpted a pair of legs, as I had the rest of the body as leftover bits. Instead I chose to do a neat little theme base where the scout appears to be climbing out of some industrial piping after cutting the mesh covering open.

Here is an example of basing two different armies the same to suit a purpose. In this case the Deathwatch Brother Captain on the left has a resin base from Back-2-Base-ix. The Genestealer on the right has a plastic base that has had textured plastic-card added to match the resin one. Both have been painted as if they were on starship. I themed these bases this way because these models are used as alternate forces for both Kill Team and Space Hulk. As per my previous example with the scouts I have themed that bases to match the majority of the terrain they will be used upon. This isn't to say that these models would be out of place on a Cities of Death or Necromunda table either.
The strategic application of scratch built bases to match some resin ones that you have run out of, especially if the amount you need is less then one packet of resin ones, will keep money in your pocket. I will also save you the headache of trying to work out what to use the, now excess, resin bases for.

Pre-cast bases such as the one on this Forgeworld Moderati need not be boring. A simple addition of some flock, in this case some snow flock, in addition to some strategic washes can really bring a little theme or story to life.
This guy and his two friends I use as objective markers. The theme is that they have just climbed out of the wreck of their steed and the oil and other hot fluids have stained the snow he is walking across. Simple little themes like this can be conveyed by strategic use of the base to create micro-dioramas.

In my last post I showed this guy. Here I have have used the light colours of the base to counter-balance the dark colours of the Skitari. Also the theme of ancient unexplored ruins presented by the design of the bases brings to mind the omnipresent background theme of the Adeptus Mechanicus searching ruins for lost STC fragments.

A close-up of one of the weapons platform sized resin bases from Dragonforge, the strategic use of symbols on bases can also add to the them of your army. If you regularly face a particular opponent or army you can add little bits of their icons and armour to your bases for a bit of fun. Both players could even use these like kill markings, adding one every time a mini "kills" a character or special unit. Just a little fun added into the game for everyone that can bring hobby back to rewarding those "Cool" moments that good gamers have during games.

Here are the rest of the bases ready to have Skitarii mounted on them, using the same set of resin bases for the whole army makes sense as no matter how incongruous the units are, the bases will tie the army together thematically. When doing this, especially if using the counter-balance of colours method, it is often a good idea to paint the bases separate from the minis. Barring any elaborate posed that require the minis to be on their bases, it can make the painting quicker as you need not worry so much about "not keeping to the lines."

Lastly here is a group shot of my Thousand Sons Army. This is diametrically opposed in how the army is themed to the last example. Here the theme of the miniatures has dictated the choice of both the force composition and the bases. Theme armies like this, and any cult army is especially susceptible to this path, are built around the colour scheme and army choices. However, in keeping with the sorcerous theme, the bases have been basically sanded and painted in dark browns and blacks to represent land blasted by the unnatural energies of the warp.

So I leave you with a few tips and things to ponder about theme and armies. Hope you enjoy.
A big thanks to Ron for sending this topic out as I had been thinking about this for a while and wondered if I should write it down.

A also want to apologise for the poor quality of some of the pictures in this post, my digital camera's auto focus was playing up today, I may have to get it looked at.

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